Thirteen New Crime-Related Laws Becoming Effective in 2013

Each year, in early January, there are newspaper articles describing new laws taking effect on January first.  The articles summarize a wide variety of laws with consequences ranging from prison to fines to seizure of assets to civil liability.

This article’s focus is narrower.  The following new laws affect criminal liability, as they are additions to the Penal Code and involve criminal liability, meaning jail, prison, fines, seizure or forfeiture of assets.  The laws are referred to by the AB or SB number, or Assembly Bill and Senate Bill number, respectively.  Their statutory reference in the Penal Code will be established shortly, but are not at this time.

1.    Missing Children: AB 1432 requires a parent or guardian to report to law enforcement the disappearance or death of a child under age 14 within a specified period of time.  This bill has many purposes, one of which surely is preservation of evidence and memories.
 
2.    Child Abuse and Neglect: AB 1435 makes athletic coaches, athletic administrators and athletic directors employed by a public or private school that provides any combination of instruction for kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, mandated reporters for purposes of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act.  If such employees were to see evidence of injuries they believed were caused at home or at the hands of a parent, they much contact the police.

3.    Child Abuse and Neglect: AB 1817 makes commercial computer technicians mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect for the purpose of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act.  If such employees were to see evidence of injuries they believed were caused at home or at the hands of a parent, they much contact the police.

4.    Over-the-Counter Drug Sales of Pseudophedrine: AB 1280 places new purchase limits on pseudophedrine and related products consistent with federal law and requires the electronic tracking of purchases.

5.    Drug Paraphernalia: AB 472 provides that it shall not be a crime to be under the influence of, or in possession of, a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia if that individual seeks medical assistance for himself, herself or another person for a drug-related overdose.  This bill seems to encourage people to seek medical assistance without fear of being prosecuted if high themselves or in possession of drug paraphernalia.

6.    Protective Orders and Firearms: SB 1433 requires a law enforcement officer who serves a protective order that prohibits the individual from possessing a firearm to request the firearm be immediately surrendered.  In the past, prior to this law, the individual usually had a day or two to surrender his or her weapon(s) to a local armory, usually at a police station.

7.    Domestic Violence Fund Increase: AB 2094 increases the domestic violence fund fee from a minimum of $400 to a minimum of $500 and requires the court to state a reason on the record if it reduces or waives the minimum fee during sentencing.

8.    Domestic Violence Defendant Electronic Monitoring: AB 2467 authorizes a judge to order electronic monitoring of a defendant when a protective order has been issued to protect a victim of a violent crime committed by the defendant during the pendency of the criminal case or in cases when a defendant has been convicted of a crime of domestic violence and a protective order has been issued to protect the victim.

9.    Juvenile Life Sentence Without Possibility of Parole: SB 9 authorizes a prisoner who was under 18 at the time of committing an offense for which the prisoner was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole to submit a petition for recall and resentencing to the sentencing court.  This bill seemingly responds to a series of reported decisions over the last year involving juveniles being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
 
10.    Arrested Parent Rights: AB 2015 requires an arresting or booking officer to inquire if an arrested person is a custodial parent with responsibility for a minor child and requires that a sign be posted in a conspicuous place informing an arrested custodial parent of his or her right to two additional telephone calls for the purpose of arranging for the car of the child or children in the parent’s absence.

11.    Victim Restitution: AB 1371 prohibits a defendant from satisfying an order to pay direct restitution to a victim, a restitution fine or both, through time spend in custody at the statutory rate of $30 per day.

12.    Victim Restitution: AB 2251 authorizes prosecutors to send victim contact information to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation without the victim’s consent for purposes of making the defendant pay restitution.  This bill seems aimed at ensuring a defendant pays restitution by eliminating the excuse that he or she lacks the victim’s address.

13.    Electronic Tracking of Vehicles: AB 2055 establishes procedures for the issuance of a search warrant authorizing electronic tracking of a vehicle.  This new law comes at the heels of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions allowing electronic trackers on cars operated or owned by suspected drug dealers.

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